Hippo Selects Austin as Second Corporate Home

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Smart Homeowners Insurance Provider Opens Congress Avenue Office, Announces Hiring Plans and Partnerships with Community

Less than a month after Hippo, the California-based insurtech company that’s transforming home insurance for savvy homeowners, announced a $25 million Series B round, it announces the opening of a second office in downtown Austin. Located in Suite 500 of the iconic Scarbrough Building at 522 Congress Avenue in the heart of Austin’s Central Business District (CBD), Hippo will celebrate the official opening on February 15. Stream Realty Partners’ Brad Philip and Casey Casper assisted with locating the new 4,000 square-foot creative office.

“Hippo is reimagining homeowners insurance with a customer-centric model, built from the ground up,” said Assaf Wand, Hippo co-founder and CEO. “The fast-growing and innovative startup scene in Austin make it the best place to deliver on our mission and customer promise. With top talent and a sense of hustle similar to Silicon Valley, it’s the perfect city for Hippo’s second home.”

A Smart Approach to a Massive Insurance Challenge for Customers

Today, sixty percent of U.S. homes are underinsured. Hippo solves this problem by delivering smart home insurance with more comprehensive coverage for today’s homeowners while cutting premium costs. Leveraging big data, like municipal building records, and innovative technology, such as satellite imagery, the company can evaluate each home’s needs with precision to ensure more relevant and sufficient policy coverage, and streamline the quote and onboarding experience - quotes in under 60-seconds and sign-up in under three minutes.

“Over the last year, it became increasingly more important to bring our smart home insurance product to Texas, as the region confronted one bad storm after another,” said Wand. “When a region is hit with catastrophic events, insurers bent on minimizing risk often leave the area and cancel existing policies. In addition to leaving a void, exiting a marketplace altogether can leave consumers with a bad taste in their mouths. Hippo does things differently, offering assistance, coverage and claims support that focuses on the customer first.”

Hippo’s customer-centric approach includes an industry-first, claims concierge team - based entirely in Austin. The company developed a 24/7 concierge team that manages all customer claims from start to finish with proactive outreach and upfront safety care (think getting your family into a hotel immediately after a house fire instead of going through claims numbers), anticipating clients’ needs throughout the claims process.

Hippo also offers enhanced coverage options to protect the items Texans use most in their homes:

  • Equipment breakdown coverage for overheated A/C units, pool pumps and solar panels - to keep you cool in the spring, summer and fall
  • Service line protection, to fill in the gap that traditional policies leave for coverage of home service lines that connect with municipal lines - like gas and water mains, and sewer lines
  • Water backup coverage, so you can worry less about septic or sewage backup

Austin Office Leadership and Hiring

Long-time Austin resident and Head of Insurance Rick McCathron leads Hippo’s local operations. McCathron has hired five new operations team members this year, covering sales, claims concierges and underwriters, and is looking to hire several more team members over the next few months.

“As an Austinite, I feel what really sets Hippo apart is our human touch,” said McCathron. “At Hippo, we don’t see risk — we see people. We understand that a kind human interaction during an insurance claims process is not merely desirable, but necessary. We know that thousands of Texans have learned – sometimes the hard way – the importance of quality service from their home insurance provider. So, finding a home in Texas for our insurance operations was a great way to solidify our place in the community and landscape.”

Hippo choose the CBD for its first operations home and then partnered with three Austin-based businesses and local artist Faith Schexnayder to support the company’s Austin opening and to connect with the community by supporting two local Farmers’ Market-based art for charity events.

Hippo’s February 15 Opening Brunch

On February 15, KUT Journalist Rebecca McInroy will serve as master of ceremonies as the company serves a Hippo brunch and welcomes Austin city officials, members of the Downtown Austin Alliance, its CBD neighbors, the media and the public to the new space. During brunch:

  • Coffee and “Hippo” breakfast tacos will be served
  • Wand will provide an overview of Hippo, its growth plans and why Austin is a key part of its mission to redefine the way home and condo insurance is determined and delivered - in the interest of the insured
  • McCathron will detail local plans for hiring and community support
  • The company’s charity-based Hippo art activation benefiting Special Olympics of Texas will be showcased before it rolls out from February 17 until the end of March

Hippo Paint Days for Charity @ Farmer’s Markets

From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on February 17 and February 24, Hippo and local Austin artist Faith Schexnayder of Flatfork Studio will bring large-scale, kid-friendly hippos together with the community during Hippo Paint Days at local Farmers’ Markets. (2/17 @ Sunset Valley Farmers’ Market 2/24 @ Downtown Farmers’ Market .) Onsite, Schexnayder will teach child artists how to paint in various styles, ultimately rendering final Hippo masterpieces that will be donated to the Special Olympics of Texas to auction off at its annual fundraisers.

Schexnayder is well known for large fiberglass creations, like Maudie’s Tex-Mex’s “Jackalope,” a popular last stop each year during Austin’s holiday-timed Trail of Lights event and “Batcow,” another whimsical being she co-created with Pentagram partner DJ Stout for the Cow Parade Austin fundraiser.

“When Hippo first approached me about this project, I was touched and a bit surprised,” said Schexnayder. “Many companies move to Austin each year, but, it’s rare for one to enter the city so thoughtfully. I am thrilled to have the chance to get in the community with local children and reimagine hippos as painted objects that will do even great good when they raise funds at auction.”

What’s Next for Austin and Hippo

As Hippo expands, cities and communities across the U.S. are set to benefit greatly from its success. This year alone, Hippo will continue expanding its reach to dozens of additional states as it aims to reach 60 percent of the U.S. homeowner population by the end of 2018.

“For Austin-based workers, homeowners and investors and the community that support us all, there’s a lot to be excited about,” commented McCathron. “As Hippo grows, so to will the solutions and support we invest back into those we serve. It’s a very exciting time for all.”

About Hippo
Hippo is on a mission to transform home insurance for the modern household. Among its many innovations, Hippo allows homeowners to get a quote and purchase home insurance online in 60 seconds or less, save up to 25 percent compared with traditional insurers, and obtain smarter coverage for modern households. This includes protection for possessions like appliances, consumer electronics and home offices. Founded in 2015 by Assaf Wand and Eyal Navon, Hippo made its debut in the insurance marketplace in April 2017, and closed a $25 million in Series B funding in January 2018, co-led by Comcast Ventures and Fifth Wall. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. For more information, visit http://www.myhippo.com.

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